Hageman admits he's not quite ready for NFL

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 17, 2012 - 1:31 AM

The Gophers' defensive tackle still has some refining to do on his game.

hide

Ra'Shede Hageman

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

If Ra'Shede Hageman were an NFL talent evaluator, what would he tell Ra'Shede Hageman about his play as a defensive tackle?

Not ready, kid. Good but not great. Stay in school.

"I feel like I'm not fully ready to take that next step," the fourth-year junior said. "Five sacks is OK, but I feel like I can do a lot better, especially in the running game. My pad level [needs work], so I can stop the run. And going full speed every play, too."

Hageman apparently has listened to his own advice, because he said Saturday he plans to return to Minnesota in 2013 for his senior season, bypassing the NFL's early-entry process.

"I feel like I need to get one more year under my belt. I look at myself -- I did OK, in my opinion, but I've definitely got a lot of things to improve on," said Hageman, who discussed his future with his parents and coaches before making his decision. "Getting another year means I've got another spring ball to work hard, get a little bit stronger, so I can be a dominant player in the Big Ten."

He's got one other reason, too, one that he admits he would have laughed at five years ago.

"Most kids come out early without a degree. I have one more year, so I might as well take advantage of that to graduate. That was definitely important," said Hageman, who once was suspended for not taking academics seriously but now is closing in on a bachelor's degree in youth studies.

"Five years ago, I was a knucklehead. I really didn't care [about academics]. But in my five years here, I've definitely matured."

It hasn't been easy, considering how hard it was for the Gopher to settle on a position. Hageman was an all-state tight end at Washburn High, but after a redshirt season in which he grew to nearly 300 pounds, he was switched to defensive end. When Jerry Kill arrived at Minnesota, Hageman became a defensive tackle, and finally became a full-time player this season. His five sacks earned him honorable mention on the All-Big Ten team.

His 6-5 frame, good speed and athleticism make him a likely future pro -- but where he gets drafted matters a lot. Last season, for instance, Christo Bilukidi, a defensive tackle from Georgia State, was taken by Oakland midway through the sixth round, and signed a four-year non-guaranteed contract worth $2.2 million, including a $100,000 signing bonus. But Kendall Reyes, a UConn defensive lineman, went to San Diego in the middle of the second round, and the payoff was much higher: a four-year deal worth $4.4 million, with a $1.4 million bonus.

Next spring's draft is flush with defensive linemen. ESPN analyst Todd McShay projects 14 defensive linemen to be taken in the first round alone, pushing him further down the list.

Hageman intends, after the Gophers' bowl game, to utilize the NCAA's process of soliciting opinions from NFL scouts about where he will be taken, and Kill has been in touch with former players and pro contacts for advice. But he and his staff agree that, unless his chances of being drafted early are better than they realize, another season of experience will help him.

"He can consistently learn to play with a lower pad level. He's still got some work to do with his hands. ... Just little things like that. He has all the athletic ability. He just hasn't played a lot," said defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys.

But Hageman is versatile enough to play inside on a 4-3 defense, or become a pass-rushing end in a 3-4 system, Claeys said, adding to his value.

"I'd be very surprised if he's not" an NFL player.

  • MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL

    Gophers vs. Texas Tech • 7 p.m., Dec. 28 • TV: ESPN (100.3 FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close